Threats by Humans

The world-wide decline in coral reefs could be a result of increased human activity on the reefs. There are three main topics which are going to be discussed; Tourism and recreational uses; such as diving and snorkeling and how these affect the reef, Eutrophication; the increased input of nutrients into the system (Dubinsky 1996), and Over-fishing; how different fishing techniques damage the reef. Human impacts have caused a change in state; at present a shift from a domination by coral species to a new status of algae or non-coral species domination is occurring. (Hughes 2008)

Threats from humans can be ‘acute threats’ or ‘chronic stresses’ (Edinger EN et al. 1998). The acute threats are damages that have been caused within a short time and the corals can usually recover from these with no other disturbances. Examples of acute stresses are fishing methods and anchor damage. Chronic stresses are usually severe disturbances which cause a shift (Hughes 1994) in the balance of the reef which is difficult to recover from. Examples of these include increased sedimentation and Eutrophication.

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